The Best Compact SUV – 2021 Honda CR-V vs the VW Tiguan

Local car buyers looking for a capable but comfortable vehicle will no doubt be comparing compact SUVs, also known as Crossovers or CUVs. While providing the utility of an SUV, the smaller size adds for better handling and a more comfortable driving style. Thanks to their all-around efficiency and more affordable pricing, Crossovers have recently become one of the most popular vehicle segments.

While all Crossovers can be compared to some extent, two best-in-class vehicles stand out among the rest. The iconic and globally recognized CR-V and the relatively new Volkswagen Tiguan. Both vehicles target the same demographic of car buyers looking for better fuel efficiency, utility, and value without sacrificing performance or space.

SpecsHonda CR-V for sale near the twin cities

Performance might not be the first thing that comes to mind when shopping for a new Crossover but it’s certainly essential. After all, no one wants to be caught in a slow car. While neither of these cars will be winning races anytime soon, a vehicle’s take-over power allows for easier and safer lane changes.

Bringing in decades of engine innovation, Honda has brought to the table a compact SUV suited to overtake the competition in any road conditions. The new Honda CR-V specs go beyond what’s necessary for a daily driver and extends its potential towards increased gratification of the overall drive. Owners behind the 1.5L turbo 4-cylinder engine can enjoy 190 horsepower with 179 lb-ft of torque.

Without the lengthy experience in power efficiency technology, the Volkswagen Tiguan requires a larger motor for a lower quality output. Because of this, the Tiguan takes a different approach with a more slow and steady drive style. Standard on the Tiguan is a 2.0L TSI® inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine generating up to 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque with an 8-speed transmission.

With its larger engine, the Volkswagen Crossover also receives poorer gas mileage of up to 23 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. On the other hand, the Honda Compact SUV receives up to 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway while still sustaining a better performance drive style.


Any discussion about Compact SUV comparisons has to touch upon their interior comfort and cargo volume. As utility vehicles, both are expected to provide sufficient storage space without sacrificing the comfort of passengers. Making errand runs with the family to the grocery store can be optimized with a roomier car.

While both the Volkswagen and Honda Compact SUV’s dimensions sit neck and neck, their interiors differ slightly. When it comes to legroom and storage space, Honda has the Volkswagen beat with 39.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear row and 75.8 cubic feet with the seats down.

A two-row Volkswagen Tiguan comes up just short with 37.6 cubic feet behind the rear row and 73.6 cubic feet with the seats folded down. For larger families, Volkswagen offers a third-row option at the forfeit of rear storage space. The last-minute addition of the third row does impact the overall dimensions of the vehicle leading to decreased legroom and third-row seats that have been noted as comically small by owners. The rear cargo room is also obviously significantly sacrificed whenever the third row is in use.

Comparing the interiors of the two, U.S. News emphasizes the higher quality materials found in the upscale cabin of the Honda CR-V. Both compact SUVs feature large screens in the center console that allow for quick access to many of their most needed features. The interiors of both vehicles have the option for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, other common Bluetooth capabilities, and wireless phone charging

Learn more about the Honda CR-V


In terms of tech, the two Crossovers have similar functions, such as forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and both front and rear parking sensors.

Both the Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan have been honored as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety with a few differences. In regards to front crash prevention, the Honda was rated Superior with the ability to recognize a crossing pedestrian and automatically coming to a full stop. In the same test, the Volkswagen Compact SUV failed to stop and hit the crossing pedestrian. When testing with a parallel adult, the Volkswagen once again failed while the Honda avoided the collision.

With its history being the largest tell, Honda has created the world’s safest compact SUV with the CR-V.

CR-V vs Tiguan

If you’re in the market for the best Compact SUV in the Minneapolis area, both the Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan are exceptional options. Each vehicle certainly has its merits but only one can earn the coveted spot in your Twin Cities driveway.

As a reputable brand, Honda offers a top-of-the-line service with the most reliable compact SUV on the market. Year after year, awards continue to follow the popular Honda crossover.


U.S. News – 2021’s Best Compact SUV for the Money

Kelly Blue Book – Best Buy: Compact SUV


2021 Honda CR-V Trim MSRP 2021 VW Tiguan Trim MSRP
LX $21,420 S $25,245
SE $23,370 SE $27,395
EX $24,620 SE R-Line Black $30,595
EX-L $26,220 SEL $32,545
Touring $33,650 SEL Premium R-Line $39,095


While the Volkswagen Tiguan definitely holds its own, it’s overall recognized as inferior to Honda’s top-rated compact SUV. MotorTrend places the CR-V as number one in its compact SUV rankings while the Tiguan sits all the way down in the number twelve slot.

Needless to say, the Volkswagen Tiguan has become a popular vehicle of choice. The Crossover has actually become the Volkswagen Group’s best-selling vehicle worldwide. However, in the U.S., the Honda CR-V still outsells it three times over.


2021 Honda CR-V 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
●     Higher quality interior

●     More passenger legroom

●     Increased cargo capacity

●     Sportier drive

●     Better fuel efficiency

●     Taller headroom

●     Larger fuel tank

●     Third-row option


The Honda CR-V vs Volkswagen Tiguan is a tough one to sort out but if you’re looking for the one with better fuel economy, a roomier interior, and a sportier feel, the choice is clear. If you have further questions, feel free to stop in or give us a call. Or schedule a test drive from your home with Walser To You, our free home delivery and test drive program. We look forward to helping you find your next vehicle.

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